MONTRÉAL, June 21, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - The mayor of Montréal, Valérie Plante, is making a meaningful and long-awaited gesture today, as part of the reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples, by giving Rue Amherst the new official street name of "Rue Atateken". Mayor Plante is surrounded by the Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard, her associate councillor responsible for reconciliation, Marie-Josée Parent, and members of the Indigeous Geographical Names Working Group, to highlight the innovative collaboration among partners from various nations, including the Mohawk Nation, and the urban community, as part of the reconciliation process with Indigenous peoples.
"I am deeply moved by the way in which we have all come together to make this collective gesture today. As we replace a geographical name that has long been criticized, by a name that spells unity, peace and sharing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, we are honoring the spirit of reconciliation that transpires from Montréal's reconciliation program. The name, a word in Kanien'kéha (Mohawk) language, means "brothers and sisters" and bears the notion of equality between people. I would like to thank the members of the Indigeous Geographical Names Working Group who have worked with us to reach this important milestone," said Valérie Plante.
Atateken, a symbol of peace and brotherhood
Atateken is an invitation to peace, and its location in the city, as it links the river to Parc La Fontaine, crossing Rue Sainte-Catherine and Montréal's Gay Village, further enhances its meaning. This name is a token of brotherhood that will offset the strong military connotation of its neighboring streets bearing the names of military leaders Wolfe and Montcalm.
"During this Montréal Reconciliation Week, Tiohtia'ke makes yet another gesture that confirms its commitment to respect, recognition and brotherhood. Rue Atateken will henceforth be known as the road of our sisters and brothers. We hereby turn a new page in our collective history, a history that entails dark episodes of our colonial past, but that will be marked today by a new step towards stronger friendship ties. I would like to thank all those who, through their work and strong beliefs have enabled us to restore our dignity today," declared Ghislain Picard, Chief of the FNQL.
"I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mayor Plante for bringing us together in a spirit of reconciliation. Montréal has chosen to rename Rue Amherst, rue ATATÉ: KEN, which means "brotherhood". We are all linked by common values and beliefs. By removing the name of Jeffrey Amherst from the street name, we are acting together in a spirit of reconciliation and are acting in line with common values and beliefs. I hope that Montrealers will adopt this new name just as it was created, through our own common values and beliefs," stated Hilda Nicholas, director of the Kanehsatake Cultural Centre, member of the Kanehsatake community and of the Indigeous Geographical Names Working Group.
The city wishes to highlight the excellent work of the Indigeous Geographical Names Working Group:
- André Dudemaine, member of the urban Indigenous community, and founder of the Indigenous cultural organization Terres en vues
- Nicole O'Bomsawin, member of the Abenaki Nation, anthropologist
- Hilda Nicholas, member of the Kanehsatake community, director of the Mohawk cultural centre of Kanehsatake
- Akwiratekha Martin, member of the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, history professor
- Oscar Kistabish, member of the Anishnabe Nation, cultural consultant
This geographical name change will be adopted by city council at the end of this summer. Then, as is customary, in order to help citizens with directions, both street names will appear side by side on the street signs for several weeks, before the old name is removed.
Jeffrey Amherst (England, 1717 – id., 1797)
Jeffrey Amherst (England, 1717 – id., 1797) was commander in chief of the British armies for North America, from 1758 to 1763 and colonial administrator. He participated in the capture of the city of Louisbourg, on July 27th, 1758, following which he was given the mission to invade Canada. After the fall of Québec, in which he did not play an active role, Jeffrey Amherst received the surrender of Montréal on September 8th, 1760, and consequently that of the entire colony. He visited Québec and its battlefields before returning to headquarters, in New York. Over the past few years, the reputation of Jeffrey Amherst has been tarnished posthumously in the context of the war of 1754‑1763 (French and Indian War), namely due to his particularly hateful correspondence with respect to First Nations, whom he wished to see eradicated. As a result, the name of Rue Amherst became the target of extensive criticism and requests for its replacement. This solution was adopted as part of the initiative "Montréal, Metropolis of Reconciliation". It was thus proposed that the new name should be related to the context of reconciliation.
SOURCE Ville de Montréal - Cabinet de la mairesse et du comité exécutif
For further information: Source: Geneviève Jutras, Attachée de presse de la mairesse, Cabinet de la mairesse et du comité executive, 514 243-1268; Information: Camille Bégin, Relationniste, Division des relations medias, 514 872-2921, firstname.lastname@example.org